The short story takes place during the Civil War. Peyton Farquhar a civilian of the south Is caught vlolatlng with the bridge and Is sentenced to be hanged. Ambrose Bierce’s short story became a suspenseful phenomenon. He maintain suspenses throughout the short story by enhancing the mind of Peyton into a deep fantasy. Bierce’s use of flashbacks, setting, illusion, and symbolism to create suspense.
In the second aragraph the story gives a flashback to outline Peyton’s lifestyle and why he is getting hanged. The flashback shows how Peyton was a slave owner and was a supporter of the confederate army. When Peyton has a confrontation with a union spy posing as a confederate soldier it created suspense because Peyton didn’t know what the reader knew. The flashback explains how Peyton got into this mess that were learned of earlier in the story. Symbolism throughout the story is used to show life and death. One example is the place Peyton is being hanged (the bridge).
The bridge symbolizes the path one must take to cross over between life and death. On one side of the bridge represents Peyton’s life and the other side of the bridge where the soldiers are represented as death and war. Since Peyton took it upon himself to take action in the war he choose to crossover to the said of war otherwise referred to as death where he will be hanged. The river under Peyton also symbolizes the passage between life and death. In other religions when someone dies, they cross over a river to get to the other side.
An example would be the River Styx in Greek mythology. The River Styx is know as the border between life and death that sends soul’s to the other side. Bierce creates one big Illusion to the reader as Peyton Is dying In a slow daydream. The readers perceptions of PeytonS thoughts and actions now becomes a blurred line between illusion and reality. Peyton is imagining his escape from death but the reader doesn’t know it is only an illusion lasting about 3 seconds before he died. Like many say his life flashed before his eyes.
His ability to escape gunfire underwater shows that he is dreaming because that would be nearly impossible for someone who Is half conscious to dodge. This sense of Imposslblllty creates suspense as the reader wonders If Peyton will successfully escape alive because It seems so unbelievable. Altogether these literary devices helped Bierce create a suspenseful short story. Without anyone of these devices he would not have been able to make the reader suspenseful and predict the predictable outcome of Peyton surviving.
An Occurrence By denise_bgc hort story takes place during the Civil War. Peyton Farquhar a civilian of the south is caught violating with the bridge and is sentenced to be hanged. Ambrose Bierce’s that sends soul’s to the other side. Bierce creates one big illusion to the reader as Peyton is dying in a slow daydream. The readers perceptions of Peyton’s thoughts would be nearly impossible for someone who is half conscious to dodge. This sense of impossibility creates suspense as the reader wonders if Peyton will successfully escape alive because it seems so unbelievable.